River Users See Signs of a Healthy River

A RECENT report suggests there are a signs the health of Swan River is on the improve. The Murdoch University report on fish communities led to scientists announcing the waterway was in the best ecological health for a decade.

Rubbish bags and people

The Murdoch University report on fish communities revealed a “notable increase” in species living close to riverbanks, up from 29 to 35 last year, despite low rainfalls in recent summers. It also found 21 species in the upper reaches of the Swan, up seven, or 33 per cent, from 2012.

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Recreational fishers have played their part in driving the revival and the wide range of species caught and released at Swanfish in February indicated the encouraging health of the Swan and Canning fisheries. Helping the Swan’s recovery has been a couple of important restocking programs supported by local fishers  for Mulloway and river prawns. Both are iconic recreational fishing species in the Swan and their numbers appear to have improved significantly.

There have been big numbers of small Mulloway (some legal recreational size) caught over the last 12 months, especially after  20,000 Mulloway were released in West Coast waters, especially the Swan River just over a year ago. If you happen to catch a tagged Mulloway, we would love you to have a go removing the fish’s otiliths (ear bones). It’s very easy and check out this video to see how it’s done.

The popular pastime of prawning is also making a solid comeback on the back of their resurgence.  Old timers says they haven’t seen as many prawns for a couple of decades.

Mulloway tagged resized

Other species being observed by rec fishers and showing possible signs of recovery are cobbler, for which are off limits for fishers,  in the Swan and Canning. Most fishers come across Cobbler when netting for prawns, along with the iconic seahorse, more great signs for river health.

There have also been less algal blooms and fish kills in recent years.

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Recfishwest is fully committed to helping maintain and improve the health of the Swan River ecosystem, and recently supported the expanded Fishing Line Disposal Bin Project, in conjunction with the Swan River Trust, local governments and more importantly recreational fishers and river users.